Stuart Seldowitz, a former Obama administration adviser and State Department employee was arrested on charges of hate crime, stalking, second-degree aggravated harassment, and other offenses after videos surfaced showing him using Islamophobic language against a New York City food cart worker.
Seldowitz, 64, confirmed to CNN before his arrest that he was the person in the videos.
NYPD documents harassment of food cart worker by Seldowitz
The New York Police Department (NYPD) reported an aggravated harassment incident at 2nd Avenue and 83rd Street involving a 24-year-old male victim.
The victim, a food cart worker, told police that Seldowitz approached him multiple times at his workplace, making anti-Islamic statements on various occasions, causing fear and annoyance.
Videos capture Seldowitz making Islamophobic remarks
The videos in question show Seldowitz making derogatory remarks about Islam, taunting the man about his citizenship status, accusing him of supporting Hamas, and referring to the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
In the footage, Seldowitz is heard saying, “I’m gonna put big signs here that say ‘This guy believes in Hamas,’” “You’re a terrorist, you support terrorism,” and, “If we killed 4,000 Palestinian kids, you know what, it wasn’t enough.”
Seldowitz arrested amid rising antisemitism, anti-Muslim sentiments
Seldowitz’s arrest occurred amidst a rise in antisemitism and anti-Muslim rhetoric in the U.S.
This increase follows recent events where Hamas attacked Israel, resulting in over 1,200 casualties.
D. C. Lobbying firm cuts ties with Seldowitz
In response to the circulation of these videos, a D.C.-based lobbying firm severed its relationship with Seldowitz.
FBI Director Christopher Wray has noted a “historic” level of antisemitism in the country, mainly targeting the Jewish community since the outbreak of the war.
Palestinian American groups alarmed by surge in Islamophobic acts in U.S.
Similarly, Palestinian American groups have expressed increasing concern due to a surge in violence.
Advocacy groups have reported a significant rise in Islamophobic incidents in the U.S.
New York intensifies fight against online hate, reflecting broader U.S. tension
New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) recently announced that the New York government is intensifying its efforts to combat online hate speech and related incidents.
This development aligns with the broader context of heightened tensions and increased incidents of hate crimes targeting various religious and ethnic groups in the U.S.
The case of Stuart Seldowitz highlights the ongoing challenges in addressing and mitigating the impact of such divisive and harmful rhetoric in society.